Ophelia: “Why don’t you wake up and realize that dreams ain’t for people like us?”
Many people hated this film. Vulgar. Too busy. Tired jokes. Racist humor. Asian and Hispanic stereotypes. The reggae man. Homophobia. Chauvinism. But the races, men and women all work together for the success of the company.
This movie isn’t about wealthy, successful, brilliant, heroic archetypes. It’s about the sad forgotten working poor who get overlooked at both ends of the spectrum. Crooked politicians and political hacks, crooked cops. The certifiably insane Dell “I don’t work on January the 8th because that’s Elvis’ birthday”, the childlike bodybuilder brothers, the faux Latin lover, the idealistic wannabe Writer…
”D.C. is a capital city.”
The reason why it is a cult film 🎞 for D.C. citizens is because it’s about regular working class people and not about political bigwigs or super spies. The D.C. Cab Company is a metaphor for the District itself. If D.C. Cab can make a comeback, can the Capital City come back as well?
”The big fear is that you’re becoming a cabdriver.”
But the critics missed the point of the film. It’s a story about what’s quintessentially right with America and Americans.
D.C. Our Nation’s Capitol, a long-ignored burnt out shell since the riots of the 60’s and 70’s, was about to make a huge comeback.
The Old South was disappearing and it was the dawn of the 80’s. An era without segregation, without riots, without Vietnam. No-one knew what was coming.
“No Tyrone, I’m from the new South where we’re all brothers.”
The real movie is about a group of white southerners, Harold, Albert and Dell. Harold runs a failing Cab Company with a largely black staff of employees. They all work together, live together and laugh together with a goal of saving the company and with no racial, ethnic or gender barriers between them.
They adopt young Albert, who finds his way up from Georgia to work for his dad’s War buddy, Harold. Albert’s dad apparently died from some ailment related to his service in Vietnam so he seeks to bond with one his dad’s best friends. Probably the most poignant scene is when the two of them roak the Schmiee and dance to Jimmy Cliff’s haunting reggae ballad ‘Vietnam’.
”Albert aint got not political convictions, He’s an American!”
On race relations, Dell very crudely explains to young Albert that blacks will eventually take over the country, so by coming to D.C. he’s getting ahead of the game and they can be the token whites in the new black utopia.
Albert learns a little bit from each driver, gaining their unique and often warped view of the world, but it’s the lens through which they see the universe.
There are a lot of silly tropes in the movie but amazingly, the most criticized happens more often than not. A rare violin gets left in a cab for which there is a $10,000 reward. This actually happened in both New England and in New York City and the violins involved were worth over One Million dollars.
“You ain’t got no company, You’ve got an asylum.” Says Ophelia. Ophelia is a strong female character who is wanted by both cab companies as a star driver.
The rival Emerald Cab Company is as slick as it is dirty. They have brand new shiny cabs and they pay off the authorities.
Myrna, Harold’s miserable mercenary wife doesn’t really believe in the American work ethic or the American Dream. She wants something for nothing and she tries to tear down the dream for everyone else. The cabbies think their dreams are dashed when Myrna steals the money.
Albert talks to them about their dreams. He puts his money where his mouth is and he puts up the savings his father left him. “We just might make something of ourselves!”
The cabbies fix up their cabs and they don the coveted jackets. They are armed with a new purpose, but obstacles, evildoers, bad luck and competitors still lie ahead.
Tyrone and Samson are both struggling, but Samson believes he can change the evil in his community if fights for what he believes, but Tyrone is fatalistic about what he sees as a hopelessly rigged racist society so he tries to game the system.
Albert and Tyrone fundamentally don’t understand each other and they don’t like each other at first. Tyrone loves Albert and hates him at the same time. But just as with Samson, Tyrone is no idealist. Tyrone at some level tries to get Albert to reject his false ‘New South’ idealism and truly understand the world as Tyrone sees it, by becoming a ‘psychic blood brother’.
Tyrone leaves the fold, but inspired by Irene Cara, he steals Dell’s cab to get the fare. Irene Cara’s song ‘Dream’ was a huge hit.
Mixed in with the vulgar comedy is a sad story about throwaway people who still cling to the American Dream, but somehow if they put aside their differences and come together with a common goal they can still find a way to achieve that dream.
In the end it’s the wisdom out of the mouth of babes as young Albert inspires the crew to believe.
They have to come together one more time and figure out the clues to rescue the kidnapped kids and Albert. Airplanes ✈️? Bruce Lee 🥋 ? A windmill?
Albert is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. The crew has to work to save him and they will stop at nothing to do it.
Can Crazy Mr. Rhythm help?
I wont spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it.
D.C. Cab 🚕 Joel Schumacher and Topper Carew RKO Uinversal 1981
Starring Mr. T., Adam Baldwin, Charlie Barnett, the Barbarians, Marsha Warfield, Whitman Mayo, Paul Rodriguez, DeWayne Jessie, Bill Maher and many others.
The story begins on Day 93 of Lockout at Confederated Traffic Signals and Controls, Edgewood, PA, Christmas Day, 1978. The workers, some of them need less than 12 months to complete 20 years of service and get their pension… or they get nothing. They have no other marketable skills and families to support and mortgages to pay. The American dream in dying hard across the Mon Valley and the rust belt.
Roak will soon be starting at Pitt and his brother Valarious, already at CMU, have arrived from Charlotte, N.C. a year apart. They huddle in a basement in a run-down ca 1885 Squirrel Hill apartment building and plot their next steps.
Roak gets involved in the Mon Valley Unemployed Laborers Committee by accident as he stopped into a Unitarian Church fundraiser just for pie and cocoa. He meets rabid, recently divorced activist Jean, age 34 and her younger sister, Patricia, a closet capitalist. He falls in love with Jean, but Patricia falls in love with him.
Roak takes up three paper routes and he shovels snow and cleans garages in Edgewood and Wilkinsburg as unemployment reaches 40% in the Mon Valley and not even fast food jobs are available. On his route he meets locked out workers from Confederated Traffic Controls, where the problems of the workers become very real to him. He dissipates his college fund left to him by his deceased parents in an effort to keep one of the workers and his five children in their house until the strike is settled.
Roak accidentally meets a super-slick Corporate bigwig while hitchhiking to school. Roak gets caught in the middle to negotiate and end to the lockout. At 18 he is in a very high-pressure situation where the Union Leaders, Activists, Corporate Leaders and Locked out Workers tear him in different directions . He sees hypocrisy from each side except from the workers. The corporate bigwig offers him a full ride to college and a job if only he will push his side of the lockout. The Union leaders offer him a job as well. Is he a traitor? To whom?
In the end he has a choice: Risk everything, including the two women in the love triangle, his college education and his soul in an effort to help the locked out workers from losing even more.
May 1, 1937 Big Art-Deco Radio 📻 Station 🚉 Chicago, Illinois
J. Yonas Yamison – news director :
“Morrison! There’s a goddamned depression on. We don’t have the cash 💵 flow to support a bunch of stupid, dopey, dummy idiots like you and your moronic sidekick sound engineer, Charlie the dope. Before I fire 🔥 you two imbeciles, I’m giving you the shittiest assignment possible. You’re going to New Jersey on a third class baggage 🧳 train 🚂 car with the goats 🐐 manure and derelicts. You’re going to watch that stupid Nazi airship come in and basically just test the sound and camera 🎥 equipment because no-one cares. Then, I can show how useless you two bastards are and fire you both!”
Morrisson looks at his sound engineer, then they both nod.
They go to the train station with their equipment. They get on the baggage car next to the shit-covered goats 🐐 ‘naaaaah’ ‘NAAAAAH’ Shroake the reeking goats.
”Wow Charlie, this is the end of the road. Yamison’s an asshole and our station is a bunch of shitty cheapskates.”
”Yeah, Herb 🌿 unless a World 🌎 War breaks out, we’ll never work again.”
The super-sleek silver 1930’s futuristic passenger train 🚂 rolls on towards the Wast Coast. Many healthy cigarettes and cigars are roaked, filling the train car with tasty, yummy 😋 noxious, deadly, satanic, radioactive nicotine clouds ☁️ of extreme death.
May 6th, Lakehurst New Jersey:
Herb and Charlie start filming and recording the National Socialist airship’s arrival.
”Oh the humanity!”
Now considered to be the single greatest radio broadcast in American history.
Chicago Radio 📻 Station 🚉 May 10th, 1937.
Top Hat 🎩 big boss radio station owner man waking around, Roaking shitty Cigar:
“Yamison, you fucking idiot! You shithead! You said these guys were fucking morons and they just lined my pockets with millions 💰 MILLIONS! 🌿 Herb, Charlie! You’re both promoted! Yamison! You asswipe! You’re demoted to cleaning 🧹 the filthy bacteria-stoked rancid encrusted shit 💩 off the radio station 🚉 toilets 🚽!”
“OK there might be some Jewish-African soul brothers or sisters out there who rap. But what do I know, I’m I’m like the worst Jew ever.”
”How is that even defined?”
Shroake the Stalker.
”OK. So You occasionally go to Temple, like on High Holy Days. You’ve never been to Israel 🇮🇱. You can’t speak Hebrew. You fake reading in Temple. You don’t know any of the holidays. You don’t keep Kosher. You don’t know any of the ceremonies or rules. You don’t look Jewish. You are too tall, fair haired and blue-eyed. You sort of know the Bible stories. Other Jews think you are an idiot. You joined a Protestant fraternity in College and you spent most of your life in the Army. You eat cow 🐄 tongue 👅 but not chopped liver.”
I Shroake as we awaited Nissim Black.
”Look at the Orthodox. They have their own thing. They are real. Authentic. I’m like a space alien 👽 to them. The Boten-daughter is the same way I am. We don’t blend here.”
Shroakified I-self (Third nominative declension of myself)
”I love these people. Look at the positive energy. So you are rejected 🙅♂️ by the so-called white man and from Jews as well?”
Shraike the Stalker.
“You spent too much time among the white man and you have adopted their ways. You were corrupted by the white devil 😈 the white Satan, the man, el hombre aka Mr. Charlie aka Bobo aka Ofay.”
Said Big Chief Guyasuta.
”Chief, you’re a moron.”
The crowd loved Nissim. He came right to the audience with beats, rhymes and flows. The kids were going crazy. They had one of their own as a rapper. He seemed almost startled by the warm, bordering on frenzied reception from the Pittsburgh region.
”Your people are awesome. I love their energy. It’s a real community. Here we are under a machine-age bridge 🌉 in Old Homestead celebrating the Festival of Lights.”
”Same here. Thanks for inviting us down.”
Nodded the Chief.
Said I-self and the Boten-daughter simultaneously.
“Streets of Fire” The Michael Paré face slapping scene is one of the best Mano a Mano scènes in all of cinema. The dialog is fantastic. Ellen Aim’s Meatloaf style songs are horrible. Ry Cooder and the Blaster’s songs are awesome. Amy Madigan, Debbie Van Valkenburgh and Rick Moranis are perfect. And the weird, evil, sexually ambiguous Willem Dafoe is a classic film bad guy. The two best face offs are Cody vs Raven (Dafoe) and The soldier (Madigan) vs Billy Fish (Rick Moranis). Possibly one of the best cult films 🎥 ever. Should have won an academy award for cinematography and musical score. If you don’t like this film 🎞 it’s because you are a stupid, idiotic douchebag.
”Almost Heroes.” Period piece. Pacing was a little too slow. The classic scene where Edwards played by Matthew Perry tried to teach teacher Hunt played by Chris Farley is worth the price of admission. I also enjoy the Eagle 🦅 scenes and most of all the mentally ill Indian face-slapping scene was awesome. One of the worst rated films of all time. But I love it.
”The Film-Flam Man.” George C. Scott and Michale Sarrazin. AWOL purposeless young soldier meets up with Crazy old man. “Onky girl I ever met with purpose eyes” Part of the Neo-South genre of the 1960’s like Cool Hand Luke. Brilliant tragically underrated film with an excellent musical score. Kind of the progenitor to 1974’s “The Sting.” If you don’t like this film, it’s because you are stupid.
”Wagon’s East.” An incredibly bad movie. How can you not love John McGinley’s gay bookseller and secret expert gunfighter? Richard Lewis as the malpracticing Civil War Doctor. The Indians who desperately want them to leave and of course John Candy 🍬 as the failed back-country guide?
”Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” Warren Oates. Fantastic film. It was actually part of the Mexican film genre. It’s crude and edgy and you can see vestiges of it in later Rodriguez and Tarantino films. If you don’t like this film, you are an incredibly stupid, dopey Alfred E. Newman-face dummy.
”Road House” Possibly the greatest bad movie of all time. Ben Gazzarra as the completely psychotic bad guy, Sam Elliott as Dalton’s sidekick. The famous “speech” “I want you to be nice!” “What if someone calls my mama a whore?” “Is she?” The epic battle. The goofy 😋 sidekick: “A baar 🐻 fell on me!
I didn’t mean to ruin Christmas, I mean it didn’t start out like that. It was my intention to visit my brother at his College town. He was the boarder of a rather eccentric Madame G. who kept a house at 1 Hickory Boulevard.
The House was one of many old stately homes along a beautiful tree-lined street across from the old Protestant cemetery.
Due to a sudden snow squall that blocked the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad at McKeesport, my arrival in the town was substantially delayed. I arrived so late that only by happenstance or divine providence some would say, that I was able to catch the last trolley of the early morning, such that I only arrived at Madame G’s boarding house at 3 O’ Clock in the AM on Christmas Eve of the Year 1946.
I suppose that this is where the trouble started. My brother had to sneak me in to his room. There being only a single bed, it was incumbent upon me to sleep on the floor. Unfortunately as it were, it was in fact my brother’s attempt to search for a blanket on my behalf that caused the ferrets to get out.
Who keeps such creatures as pets? Let alone in a house occupied by diverse gentlemen and ladies.
The first shriek was heard from a Mlle DeBlois, an Architect’s assistant who lived on the third floor just below where the ferrets got out.
You can imagine the commotion in the deepest hour of sleep when the young lady, her hair in curlers, wearing the most unbecoming matronly housecoat, began running down the stairs in a panic, all the while screaming for Madame G.
I cautioned my brother to not admit that he had been the cause of releasing the ferrets, or he might be evicted from his room, in the dead of winter, no less. The fact that I had, by my unannounced arrival, caused him to seek the blanket that launched the entire chain of events, notwithstanding.
The tumult increased as the ferrets next invaded the bedchamber of the elderly Veteran Monsieur Bartholomew MacGillicuddy who was heard to shout: “It’s the god-forsaken trench rats! They’re all over me!” He raced into the hallway brandishing a mop which he claimed to be a Cavalry Sabre.
My brother and I got up and sat on chairs in his room while we pondered our next move. We shared a glass of brandy and we smoked the stale cigarettes that I had purchased during the long wait at the McKeesport Train Station.
It became obvious that the ferrets had progressed to the second floor when we heard a Monsieur Huang a graduate student from Canton China, a Mlle Korazov, a refugee from Ukraine and a Reverend Thomas, a young Episcopalian priest, join the angry throng as they too were chased from their rooms by the relentless ferrets.
My brother and I finally gathered the courage to emerge from his room and we met up with the group in the great room on the ground floor.
Beneath the tattered Elk trophy, next to the Christmas Tree, by the fireplace, I as a recently returned Veteran in my own right, announced the battle plan to recover the ferrets, who by Madame G’s account, numbered eight.
We used a wicker clothing hamper and the Cavalry broom to scour the first floor and then the second to gather the ferrets one by one until we cornered the last of the eight vermin in the ancient third floor bathtub.
The entire venture was completed by 7:00AM sharp with the ferrets safely locked away in the attic.
Madame G assembled all the residents in the great room at the conclusion of the escapade. She only asked one question: “Who opened the attic door?”
I raised my hand, but my brother being the painfully honest sort said: “I was getting a blanket for my brother.”
“Who the hell is that and what the hell is he doing in my house without my permission?”
Asked Madame G.
I looked around at the carefully stacked Christmas presents and the beautifully labeled stockings and the sad faces of her teenaged children when I realized the gravity of my offense.
”You ruined Christmas!”
Screamed the red-faced Madame G. The entire populace, in various states of disturbed sleep stared at me in rapt attention as if waiting for a valid explanation.
”Wait… no never mind.”
”Get him the hell out of here if you want to keep your room!”
She yelled at my brother.
I quietly packed my belongings, bid my brother adieu, all the while apologizing to Madame G. and the other angry tenants. Only Monsieur Huang seemed to accept my apology, in a hastily arranged exchange for a pack of stale cigarettes.
I walked out into the snowy morning only to return to the train station and then find a room at a flophouse in town. I slept till at least noon, when I awoke with a start, realizing that it was Christmas Day and that I had in fact, ruined Christmas.
It was a little Synagogue in North Eastern Queens. One of many in the area.
He was in a wheelchair. He had been there every week for a month. Every week, he drooled, pathetically, asking her if they could go to the deli together after Saturday morning services and get a bagel. She always laughed and said no.
She sat with her family in a rear pew. They were making an attempt to try to be more Jewish. Provide some support for the dynamic young rabbi from Las Vegas, of all places.
It was mostly dull. She read the announcements and the temple calendar. What made it fun was people watching. Who was with who. Who showed up and who didn’t.
The wheelchair hippie, as they called him, would roll behind the last pew and transfer himself into the end seat. And they would talk. He was 29, she was 24.
He had long black hair, a beard and a moustache. He was an absolute mess. He looked like a very large Rasputin. She couldn’t tell if he was fat or thin. His face was strong, but he wore baggy clothes mostly to hide his diaper, he said. Yuck. In order to speak, he had to unscrew an enormous orthodontic brace on his mouth.
She liked the hippie, even though he was disgusting. He talked about being in some kind of hospital, rehab he said. Probably a junkie who got hit by a car, her dad said. Her parents hated him. Harry the Hairy hippie, they called him.
She was not married. No boyfriend. She was zaftig. Brown hair, brown eyes. The good men were already snapped up. She worked in the City. Bus, first, then the 7 train during the week. Then weekend services at Temple, where she was inevitably stuck with Harry, the crippled wheelchair bum. Embarrassing. How could she meet a nice young man with this carnival sideshow freak around?
He would ask for her number, while wiping his drool from his mouth. What in the hell happened to him?
He was highly intelligent. He spoke of a girl in Philadelphia who didn’t follow him to Baltimore and broke his heart. Maybe he became a junkie after that?
Did he fall off a subway platform? Was he hit by a bus? Beaten by dope dealers? Who knows. He knew his prayers though, barely intelligible as they were.
He rambled on abouthow he missed working out and running. It seemed ludicrous. He spoke about some studies at some University somewhere. It made no sense. He talked about traveling around Asia.
She would chat about Harry at home. Her parents would chafe. They called him a self-inflicted wound. It was funny.
They were really worried that their daughter would end up with Harry the shitty wheelchair bum? She scoffed in her mind.
Every week at Temple he would hit on her. Tell her she was beautiful. How he missed Jewish girls and their unique beauty. He said he wanted to ask her out, but he could barely walk or talk and he couldn’t drive. Maybe they could go to the deli one morning and get a bagel with lox cream cheese spread. She always brushed him off.
He spoke about how beautiful she was. Some mystical tripe about dreaming her before he ever met her. He talked about being in some strange land, sleeping under the Southern Cross, and how he imagined a girl just like her.
It was romantic, but annoying. Girls don’t dream of being hit on by Quasimodo.
The end came during Friday services at Kol Nidre.
He held her hand for just a moment. It was strange, as if he desperately needed some human connection, as if it were a lifeline, and her parents saw him grasp her hand.
After services, outside, her parents confronted him in the dark in the Temple driveway.
Her dad was an imposing man, over six feet. He was a dentist. He had been a dentist in World War II and the Korean War. He was proud of his service.
“Son, I don’t know how you got like this, but you look like shit. You probably were hooked on drugs and you screwed up your life. It’s sad. But from now on find somewhere else to sit. We aren’t your fucking family and my daughter isn’t going to associate with a pathetic hippie bum.”
Said her dad, pointing his finger as he towered over the crippled hippie.
“Maybe when you get out of your little rehab, you can repair your life. Move back in with your family.”
Said her mom.
She drew back, remembering him saying that he didn’t have a family and he lived alone somewhere upstate in a big empty house that he hadn’t seen in years. Probably a cock and bull story. Junkies were notorious liars.
“I’m sorry. I hope you’ll be OK.”
She said, avoiding tortuous eye contact.
Harry hung his head. He muttered some apology. Probably long practiced from years of disappointing people.
The rabbi raced over. He looked very hurt. “What is hurtful to yourself, do not do to your fellow human being. That is the entire Torah!”
He shouted at her family.
“Shame on you!”
Yelled at by the Rabbi on Yom Kippur. Not a good scene.
They saw Harry again on Saturday, he sat alone in his wheelchair on the far side of the temple, he avoided eye contact and he turned his head… and then, the next week, he was gone.
A month went by. Then a couple more weeks. She wondered what happened to him. She rode the 7 train, reading her book. Bored to death, but thinking of the sad, disgusting young man in the wheelchair.
Veterans Day week, the JWV had their annual to-do where they called up some bored Jewish active duty soldier or officer and recited his exploits.
The rabbi summoned up a tall attractive strong black-haired young man. He was clean shaven, wearing khakis and an Army Sweater covered with ribbons and badges.
“Look, a caduceus!” Said her dad, all excited.
The rabbi introduced the handsome young doctor who waddled up on wooden crutches.
Her face fell when she realized who it was. Harry the wheelchair hippie… and she had crushed his soul… when he had desperately, hopelessly loved her.
“Everyone, this young fellow, Captain Harry Levi, was hiding in the back since July. He is an Army trauma surgeon who was sent to rehabilitate at the LaGuardia VA hospital. His helicopter was shot down in Vietnam in June while he was on his second tour. Look, it’s like a revival! Harry can walk again! Hallelujah! Heal! See Rabbis can do it too! By the by, Harry is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, for you Philly Skimmers here and he went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to study medicine. What a mensch!”
Said the rabbi.
She stared straight ahead, furious at her parents. Angrier at herself. What awful tricks God plays on us when we have shameless vanity and show cruelty to the unfortunate.
A nice single Jewish Doctor. Every Jewish girl’s dream, ruined.
A badly wounded Veteran and they had all laughed at him, mocked him, shit on him. Her dad looked sick and he began to tear up. He had humiliated a fellow veteran and everyone knew it.
She got up from her seat.
“Nice work, Mom and Dad, nice work! We are all wonderful people.“
She said bitterly.
She walked down the aisle and she stood in front of the entire Saturday morning Shabbat congregation. She faced Harry and she gave him a gentle hug.
“Harry, I’m Rachel. Let’s go get that bagel.”
“I love you, Rachel.”
He said very clearly.
And they walked out into the winds of Long Island Sound to the little deli.